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The Nations Trophy 2019: Swan One Design fleet ready and waiting

by Nautor's Swan 8 Oct 23:44 BST 8-12 October 2019
The Nations Trophy 2019 © Nautor's Swan

The second edition of The Nations Trophy starts tomorrow. Some 41 entries have gathered for the event that affirms the enthusiasm for nation versus nation competition, that values the emphasis on crew work inherent in one design racing and that celebrates the traditions of renowned Finnish yacht builder Nautor's Swan. A remarkable 18 ClubSwan 50s lead the way in proving popularity of The Nations Trophy regatta concept, ably supported by seven Swan 45s, 12 ClubSwan 42s and four brand-new ClubSwan 36s. Some 14 nations demonstrate the breadth of international appeal.

Not only will the week ahead determine the winners of The Nations Trophy, awarded to the best-performing country, but three championships will also be decided: World titles in ClubSwan 50 and Swan 45, and a European crown in ClubSwan 42. An array of top sailing talent is on hand to focus the already concentrated minds of the owner/drivers and their crews. On the water race management will be led by the highly-respected Ariane Mainemare of the host club Real Club Náutico de Palma (RCNP). And, with the exceptional Bay of Palma providing the grand prix racing area, everything is in place for a great series.

The Opening Moves

The fleet was put through its paces today. Among the ClubSwan 50s, Cetilar Vitamina secured early bragging rights, nailing the perfect practice start and following this early statement of intent with a powerful performance in the practice race, in which Fram XVI carved out a slim lead before appearing to duck the finish line. The gloves will be off tomorrow and those holding something in reserve during today's sparring, will undoubtedly come out properly swinging.

It would not be a true Swan regatta without a strong social programme to complement the competition at sea. The Nations Trophy is no exception. This evening, crews were entertained with a convivial reception that took in a prize giving for the 2019 Mediterranean League - won by Cuordileone (ClubSwan 50, ITA), Porrón IX (Swan 45, ESP) and Natalia (ClubSwan 42, ROU) and the North European League won by Leviathan (ClubSwan 50, RUS. It also included the official Opening Ceremony where Leonardo Ferragamo and José Javier Sanz Fernández, respectively the Presidents of Nautor's Swan and the RCNP took the opportunity to welcome participants.

Mr. Sanz Fernández expressed the 100-year-old club's pride in being the venue for such a grand event: "We are especially pleased with the close relationship we have developed with the Nautor's Swan team. The Nations Trophy is a symbol of the union of two great names. The Real Club is a reference in sailing and Nautor's Swan is one of the best yacht manufacturers in the world. This is why our collaboration has to be a success and is such a success." For Mr Ferragamo it was important to thank the event's partners and the participating owners and sailors "for your trust in the Swan One Design project, for supporting the implementation of a vision." Mr Ferragamo went on to add that: "Nautor's Swan cannot help but be full of expectation. What is happening in Palma this week is an injection of adrenaline and determination towards making The Nations Trophy an important reality in the world of sailing. We are committed to the promotion of fair racing, in a gentlemanly spirit."

Environmental Practice

In keeping with the prominence of both Nautor's Swan and the RCNP in the marine world, there is strong emphasis this week on supporting the pursuit of environmentally sustainable practices. For this event, longstanding partner, Marevivo, which has 30 years of experience in Italy in helping protect the sea and its resources, is joined by Fundación Ecomar, a Spanish non-profit organization, founded in 1999 by double Olympic sailing champion Theresa Zabell.

During the past 20 years, Fundación Ecomar has focused its efforts on spreading practical, safeguarding environmental messages. "When I first started sailing, I was like many young people and wondered why there was so much plastic and other stuff floating about. I would ask 'why doesn't someone take it away?'" explains Zabell, who is at the RCNP this week with a team from her foundation. "As I got older, the question changed to 'why is it there?' and towards the end of my Olympic career I decided to do something about it." Fundación Ecomar primarily targets children between 10 and 12 years, an age that Zabell says is good because they are still deciding what they want to do in life and how they want to act in the future. Education programmes have been rolled out in nautical sporting clubs, like sailing, teaching children how to interact with the environment alongside learning a sport. Schools are also targeted and this has an added bonus beyond direct engagement with youth. "Kids are very good at reminding adults, and especially their parents, about the responsibility towards the planet," she smiles.

"And it is also important that our activities directly address adults," says Zabell. "Events like The Nations Trophy are a good platform for this. We are able to mix different age and social groups to reach a wide audience. Ecomar, Marevivo and many other associations are part of the process of educating all ages about how to protect the oceans." Next weekend, The Nations Trophy is supporting an Ecomar beach clean-up, one of around 60 each year that retire some ten tonnes of junk from coastal areas.

Racing at The Nations Trophy 2019 begins on Wednesday, 9 October and runs through until Saturday, 12 October. A maximum of nine races will be sailed with no discard. The participating nations are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. The inaugural Nations Trophy, held in 2017, was won by Spain through the efforts of Swan 45 Porron IX and ClubSwan 42 Nadir. Both are here again, but will have their work cut out to defend the title.

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